Wednesday figured as exactly one week since we returned from our extended travels. So I resolved that on Wednesday I would open the boxes containing the paintings I did during the residency and Look At Them. This is not a task to be taken lightly, nor is it for the faint of heart.
But Wednesday was completely taken over by a gift from the universe. It was 70 degrees and the sun was shining. On November 3. In Portland. This is a present that couldn’t be ignored.
I did pull out a few pieces of the art and set them on the easel in preparation for severe criticism and re-working:
Thus, in order not to dishonor the gift of sun and warmth in November in Portland, Oregon, I took my cart and boards and trundled down to 532 Grand Avenue (Washington and Grand) across the street from the Northwest Bank Building, which formerly housed the Rose and Raindrop Bar, Digger O’Dell’s Bar, and various other things, including (apparently) a crematorium. The building is one that has long deserved a painting or ten.
I sat at the corner on the other side of the street, next to the Slow Bar, which may be or may not be run by My Father’s Place [Saloon] into which I had to venture to make sure no one got hacked off when I occupied their sidewalk. Much to my amazement, I saw people drinking coffee inside. I didn’t know they had coffee in saloons on Grand Avenue, even though just down the block from where I was painting was an espresso café. It seems the area is gentrifying even as I have not been painting it.
At any rate, my painting gear looked something like this on a sunny November day:
But the building is gorgeous:
I am not painting it for its wondrous wayward ways — photos are much better at capturing that kind of detail. But I’m starting my annual Portland series, and Wednesday I got to do number 1. I’m hoping to paint plein air in my wacky urban mode at least once a week, any time the temperature is above 55 and it’s not raining. (These specifications may have to be altered as the winter sets in).
And today is rumored to also be sunny and warm — maybe I’ll have to forgo pulling out those paintings at least one more time. –June